Football giants Real Madrid have released new footage tracking the development of their spectacular state-of-the-art stadium, and it looks like the first kick-off date in their refurbished home is drawing ever closer to becoming a reality. The ambitious project to enhance the Bernabéu began in June 2019. While it’s not expected to be fully completed until January 2023, it’s expected that some fans will be able to take to the stadium’s stands for the 2021/22 season.
Its stunning, futuristic design will catapult the Santiago Bernabéu into the list of top football stadiums around the world. In their official statement, released when the €575 million financing package was agreed in April 2019, the club said: “[the stadium] is going to become a great avant-garde and universal icon… with modern shops and the most advanced technology. It will be the great digital stadium of the future.”
Money to burn, or earn?
Features will include a technologically advanced retractable roof over the entire pitch, allowing play in any weather. There will also be a 360-degree screen wrapping the stadium, restaurants, and bars (which are intended to open 365 days a year), a shopping center, and a five-story underground car park.
The capacity of 81,000 will remain: so how will the club pay off that €575 million, 30-year loan at 2.5% fixed interest? The agreement of 27 instalments of €29.5 million each year, from July 2023 to July 2049, brings the total cost of building the new Bernabéu to €796.5 million.
With two official Real Madrid stores, the additional retail and hospitality presence, as well as space for eSports, it’s expected that the new stadium will be a money-making machine. It’s already predicted that Real Madrid will earn an extra €150 million per season, bringing the annual revenue from matchday events alone to more than €300 million. In addition, the pitch can be easily transformed to host concerts, which will make the stadium a go-to venue that is not just known for football.
The new Bernabéu may be the fresh start the club needs. The outright betting odds have Real Madrid as +1600 to win the UEFA Champions League 2021/2022, so a win would be well-deserved after a remarkably challenging year that has tested the loyalties of Real Madrid supporters and the squad, alike. Firstly, the club has needed time to recover following their tumultuous involvement with the European Super League. The breakaway competition, to be contested by twenty top-flight European clubs and to rival UEFA’s Champions League, was announced on April 18th, 2021.
By April 20th, it was all but over after strong opposition from seemingly everyone, from fans to governments. All the clubs initially involved dropped out of the tournament, except for Real Madrid and this was because their club president Florentino Pérez was the founder and Chairman of the proposed ESL competition. ESL remains dormant after quickly suspending its operations and leaving football betting fans one less tournament to worry about.
Secondly, no Real Madrid players were selected for the Spanish national team by Luis Enrique in the lead-up to Euro 2020. This is the first time that no Real Madrid player was selected to represent the country in a major international competition. Perhaps the team would have fared differently in their penalty shootout against Italy, which saw them booted from the tournament at the semi-final stages.
Will all roads lead to Spain?
There’s definitely a new and lucrative dawn on the horizon for Real Madrid. With the 2021/22 La Liga Santander season schedule already released, it seems odds-on that the team will be back at the Santiago Bernabéu to face Celta Vigo on the weekend of September 12th, 2021. The stadium may not be ready to host supporters at that point, but the new Bernabéu is just the start of Pérez’s road-map for Real Madrid’s future.
New state-of-the-art stadium. Increased revenue to fund a new dream team. What’s the betting Real Madrid will be the envy of European football (and the oddsmakers’ favorite) very soon?